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As you'll have noticed, CapnRex101 will be reviewing the Star Wars Advent models from now on. He knows what he's talking about when it comes to Star Wars so you won't have to put up with any more misspelled names and glib comments from me :-)
Today, I've chosen to feature the City model, which is this cute doggy, sporting a Dalmatian's spots but an Alsatian's head and ears. There does appear to be similar cross breeds around so maybe he is realistic. He only appears in the calendar and this year's fire station, so I suspect not many of us have him already.
The Friends calendar features a street lamp which is similar to that in last year's.
Huw has kindly allowed me (CapnRex101) to provide a brief overview of each Star Wars Advent Calendar gift, while he takes a look at his favourite of the City and Friends models. Photos are taken by Huw.
The first mini model of the Advent Calendar this year, following the R5-F7 minifigure yesterday, is Count Dooku's Solar Sailer. This is a somewhat obscure vehicle, only appearing during the Battle of Geonosis towards the end of Star Wars Episode II: Attack of the Clones and later in the Clone Wars film and television show.
This is a nice little representation of the craft in my opinion, capturing all of the major features using only eleven pieces. The bubble cockpit is formed rather nicely using a trans-clear 1x1 round plate and I like the brown, dark bluish grey and dark tan colour scheme, which is accurate to the Solar Sailer as it appears in the film. Lastly, although it is almost certainly accidental, I also appreciate how the ship sits when 'landed' just as it does in the movie, with the rear of the vehicle tilted towards the surface, while the prongs at the front stick a little into the air.
Each day I am going to award the model or minifigure a score out of 5, and today I am going to award the model...
Overall - 4 - although this is a nice representation of the vehicle, it is perhaps a little too obscure to wholly appeal.
Two new Minecraft sets are released today and we've been sent one of each by the LEGO CEE team to review. In this review, I will take a look at 21106 The Nether. Later today, capnrex101 will publish his review of 21105 The Village.
Judging by the difficulty of getting hold of the original Cuusoo Minecraft set, 21102, particularly last year in the USA, it was a tremendous commercial success for LEGO and it is therefore not surprising that more Minecraft sets have been produced. These are not Cuusoo sets though (this we've been asked to stress), but they are perhaps the start of a long-term Minecraft theme.
The original set featured a part of 'The Overworld', known as 'The Forest'. We found this out, and that there'd be more sets on the way in June this year when it was renamed.
The two new sets represent different parts of the universe. This one is of The Nether, which according to the Minecraft wiki "is a hell-like dimension accessible only by entering a Nether Portal from the Overworld. It is home to several hazards, including flames, widespread standing and flowing lava, and Nether-exclusive mobs, as well as exclusive items and blocks."
The wiki goes on to say that "Locations in The Nether correlate to Overworld coordinates" which implies that it is underground, to me at least, and certainly in this model all the 'action' and details are underground.
As some of you know, I've been in Canada for the last two weeks on vacation/holiday. I was in Halifax, NS for the first week and near St. George, NB in the second, from where I made a couple of trips into the US (to Bangor and Lubec in Maine). My family and I had a great time. I won't bore you with any more details, but here are a few observations:
- Canada is massive! Of course you can tell that from the map but when you're there you appreciate just how big it is and how little of it you can visit in just a couple of weeks. That's not enough time to even see all of Nova Scotia.
- I now know why LEGO is so expensive in Canada. Everything is expensive! With the exception of gas that is, which is about 2/3rds the UK price. The price of food in particular surprised us: bread, cheese, milk, the basics, were about double the UK price. It can't be right that I can buy Canadian cheddar for half the Canadian price here in the UK, can it?
- Tim Hortons is a fantastic institution! Branches everywhere, fast, efficient, good food and great prices. It's almost cheaper to get a toasted bagel and coffee there than it is to buy them in a supermarket. We need something like that here in Europe.
- We have nothing like Sirius XM satellite radio in Europe, it is excellent and made the five hour drive from NS to NB fly by.
My time there wasn't totally LEGO-less. I met Chris McVeigh (aka powerpig) for dinner in Halifax and searched out LEGO in the Bangor branches of TRU, Target and Walmart. The LEGO was certainly cheaper in the latter two, but my suitcase would not permit me to bring much home with me :-(
I'm just about over my jet-lag so will be dealing with the 400+ emails I received while I was away today, and updating the database with new images, etc.
It seems that every time I go away there's some big announcement or other and this time was no exception. SDCC generated a lot of news and I'd like to thank Matthew and kempo81 for posting it in my absence. Thanks too to CapnRex101 for his excellent reviews which have also hopefully kept you engaged over the last two weeks.
I apologise for the downtime over the weekend. The site was behaving intermittently from about 04:00 GMT Saturday to 16:00 GMT yesterday due, it seems, to instability of the host machine of the site's virtual server. Once it had been rebooted, it started to behave.
So, everything's back to normal now, and our regular service has been resumed :-)
In the second part of my review of 79111 Constitution Train Chase, I will take a look at the build and the Constitution train itself. While many licensed sets rely on the Minifigures alone to carry the entire model, in this case I feel that the vehicle more than lives up to the standard of the superb figures.
In the first part I took a look at the Minifigures included and you can read about them here.
Once again, please avoid spoilers in the comments section for the sake of those who have yet to see the film.
While Huw is doing an excellent job providing some reviews of the second wave of Galaxy Squad sets, I have been charged with reviewing some Star Wars sets this summer. Apologies for my photography; I am not nearly as experienced with the actual taking of photos with the correct lighting and such as Huw or DrDaveWatford, nor am I particularly savvy when it comes to Photoshop. Hopefully I will improve with time.
The LEGO Star Wars summer wave met with some criticism when set names and images were first revealed as the vast majority of these sets are remakes, as well as being almost exclusively from the Prequel Trilogy and The Clone Wars, which is not necessarily as universally popular as the Original Trilogy.
The smallest set of this summer’s selection is 75015, Corporate Alliance Tank Droid, consisting of 271-pieces and priced at a very reasonable £19.99 or $19.99. While the set itself inspired little interest initially, thanks both to the relative obscurity of the vehicle and the fact that we last saw a Corporate Alliance Tank Droid only four years ago in set 7748, one Minifigure in particular has created some excitement surrounding this set, that being the notorious Jango Fett, in his first outing in LEGO since 2002.
UK retailer Argos has published the first images of 76003 Superman: Battle of Smallville.
Click through on the image to see the hi-res version on flickr. You'll find the hi-res white-background version on the set details page. I can't quite read the text under the minifigs, but it appears to contain Superman, General Zod, Colonel Hardy(?), Faora and Tor-An.
A better image of 76002 Superman: Metropolis Showdown was also published, so I've added it to the database.
Presumably the fact that they've beed added suggests that they'll be available soon.
Thanks JustTooGood and CapnRex101 for the heads-up
The LEGO Madhouse is a blog about LEGO Super Heroes and in particular about planning and building a large model of Arkham Asylum.
So, please go and check it out and leave Chris some constructive comments and encouragement on the site.
In part 1 we covered the box contents and the minifigs. Today CapnRex101 and I complete our review with a look at the build and the completed model.
So, I've teamed up with CapnRex101 again to bring you one.
Part 1 deals with the box, contents and minifigs.
9497 Republic Striker-class Starfighter is the second model based on The Old Republic to be released this year.
CapnRex101 is on vacation now so you'll have to make do with just me reviewing it, I'm afraid.
Being unfamiliar withThe Old Republic, I thought I'd try and find out about the ship before reviewing it, but I've failed to find any mention of it anywhere. A Google image search just returns pictures of the LEGO model!
The closest match at Wookiepedia that I found is the Talon-class Republic Starfighter which shares some design similarities with this model, and the page does state that 'The title of this article is conjectural.' so maybe they are one in the same.
Anyway, on to the review...
Today, CapnRex101 and I turn our attention to 9498 Saesee Tiin's Jedi Starfighter.
It's not the best of the summer sets but it does have its good points. Read on to find out more...
Read on to find out why this is one of the best Star Wars ships LEGO has made...
Now I've seen him for myself I have to agree that he is very cool, and his armour is superbly detailed and painted, but the best ever? Probably not. The main problem is, er, who the heck is he? I'd never heard of him before now, so I don't have any connection with the character, unlike Queen Amidala or Boba Fett.
Anyway, I've teamed up with CapnRex101 again for a review of the set he comes in, and in part one we look at the packaging, parts and minifigs.
In the final part of the review, we look at the build and the completed model. Words by CapnRex101, pictures by me...
The build takes about two hours and is quite an enjoyable build. Although not many construction techniques of interest are used, most of the build uses traditional bricks and there is very little Technic involved. The way in which the difficult curved outer surface of the throne room has been formed is quite nice as is the large domed roof which looks superb when completed. No SNOT or other techniques really feature in the construction, but it is a fun and traditional build nevertheless and one which would be ideal for younger Lego fans as it is quite easy to put together due to the numbered bags.
When the model is all finished, it looks exquisite. Both the guard tower and the throne room are just about perfect for display and there are a huge number of excellent features to keep younger buyers interested.
In this second of three parts to our review of 9516 Jabba'a Palace we take a look at the minifigs. Words by CapnRex101, pictures by me...
There are ten fantastic minifigs, almost all of which are brand new! I will start with heroes.
The least interesting minifig of the entire set in my opinion is Chewbacca, he has been seen plenty of times before but is nevertheless a great addition to the set. His sandwich board style head and torso piece is exactly the same as previous versions, it is cast in reddish brown and has a bit of printing on it, his nose is printed in black and the bandoleer he has slung across his chest is printed in silver on both the front and back which is accurate to the film. His torso is plain reddish brown as are his arms and hands. His legs too are just plain brown with no printing at all. In this set Chewbacca comes with light grey handcuffs as he has been captured and is being ransomed to Jabba at this point.
The next minifig is Han Solo. The figure is very nicely detailed indeed. He is quite similar to the Han Solo minifig included in set 8097, Slave I, but on this occasion his head printing is totally different. The hair is just the standard male minifig hair in brown, it suits the figure and I am very satisfied with this hair piece overall. His head is printed on both sides and I think it is great. On one side he has a concerned expression with brown eyebrows and a chin dimple. The other side has the same eyebrows and dimple, but his eyes are closed as he is in a state of hibernation trapped inside the Carbonite and, following his release, for a while he is blind due to hibernation sickness which is demonstrated very well by this lovely expression. His mouth is slightly open on this face which looks excellent.
His torso is printed with the creased shirt which Han was wearing when he was encased in Carbonite. It has a lot of detail including plenty of creases in the fabric and his open collar which leaves a bit of flesh visible. There is sadly no back printing, but this is forgivable. His arms are plain white and his hands are the standard flesh colour. Finally, his legs are plain reddish brown just like they are in this scene during Return of the Jedi.
This is such a highly anticipated and sought-after set so it's important that we review it fully. I've therefore enlisted the help of gold-rated reviewer CapnRex101 to help. He has provided the text and I've taken the pictures. The review will probably be in three parts.
Today we will look at the box, the contents, and Jabba the Hutt. Then, we'll cover the minifigs, and finally we'll take a look at the palace itself.
So, here we go...
This set is based on one of the most famous scenes from the entire Star Wars saga and is an ideal representation of the legendary lair of Jabba the Hutt in my opinion. It is the set I was most excited for of all of this summer’s sets and I am far from disappointed. In fact I am delighted with this wonderful model! The set is a huge step up from the previous incarnation of Jabba's Palace, set 4480, Jabba's Palace which was released in 2003. The model of the building is utterly fantastic, but the Minifigures are even better than that, all ten of the minifigures (I am considering Salacious B. Crumb, the carbonite piece and B'omarr Monk minifigures) are superb, especially the excellent new Jabba the Hutt figure and the brand new Boushh which were both highly anticipated.
This is a quick build. The anchor is the new type introduced last year in the PotC sets, but this is its first apperance in blue.
Qui-Gon and Obi-Wan are new. Obi-Wan has a new torso and head. Qui-Gon looks the same as the one in 7961 Sith Infiltrator...
Being from the original Star Wars trilogy, this was one of the most anticipated of the summer Star Wars sets. A reworking of a Desert Skiff was long overdue: the last one (7104) was released in 2000 and is very crude compared to this version which does now look something like the prototype.
The set also comes with Sarlacc which is quite cool: you can fit a minifig inside the jaws, which snap shut.
Lando is much better than the last 'in disguise' version of him in Jabba's Sail Barge: the helmet looks to be the same design but has been painted this time.
We haven't had a Kithaba minifig before so he's all new. As someone has mentioned in the flickr comments to this picture, his red trousers stand out a bit much, don't they. Dark red would have been preferable. I think Luke is just sporting a new torso print.
One thing I noticed with this set is that the instructions are printed in a much higher quality paper than other 2012 sets: it's thicker and shinier so is less prone to creasing as you flick through it. It's no doubt more expensive, too.
Overall, a nice set, if a tad expensive, but then which Star Wars set isn't these days...
That's all I have time to write at the moment but for an excellent in-depth review, check out the one written by CapnRex101.
I've now built the four smallest PotC sets now so I thought I'd make a few observations about them. If you're still on the fence as to whether to buy them, maybe this will help :-)
- The packaging is excellent. As has been noted in various comments, the boxes are the new, smaller, type.
- The instructions and poster are packed in a plastic bag with a sheet of card to ensure they stay flat, even in the smallest sets.
- There are 27 unique minifigs, but it seems I was misled at the London toy fair: I was told that Jack Sparrow was different in every set, however according to BrickLink, there are just 4 variations, plus the one in 30132 which hasn't been added there yet. They are all excellent with many new accessories and headgear and are printed on the front and back of the torsoes.
- CapnRex101 has written some excellent reviews of two of the sets, and I've leveraged the new feature here to provide links to the pictorial Eurobricks reviews. You'll find them on the PotC theme page.
What do you think of them? Add your own review, or comment here.